Belief of Consent as a Defence Against Sexual Assault Charges in Calgary

Tags:

Every criminal case that comes across my desk as a Calgary criminal defence lawyer—and indeed, every criminal case brought forth in Canada's courts—has certain complexities and considerations that make it unique. Listening to the full facts of every case and investigating every relevant nook and cranny of the law is often what makes the difference between and effective defence that helps those accused of crimes move past their charges quickly, and a lack-luster defence that leave clients languishing with unfair sentences.

This is just as true with sexual assault cases in Calgary as it is with charges of any other type of crime. The complexities of sexual assault charges, from the facts of any given case to the way that the law applies to those specific facts, requires special attention as they can be somewhat grey areas of fact and of law. Consent in particular is an issue of significant importance in many sexual assault cases.

First, there is there often a factual and legal question of whether or not proper consent was given in any particular case of alleged sexual assault in Calgary, as previously discussed [here.] (link to "Consent…") To complicate matters still further, the belief that proper consent was given—whether or not it truly was—can be an effective defence against sexual assault charges.

Calgary Judges/Juries and the Reasonable Belief of Consent in Sexual Consent

According to Section 266, paragraph 4 of the Criminal Code of Canada, anyone accused of sexual assault in Calgary or throughout Canada can raise their honest and reasonable belief that consent was given for any and all sexual acts that took place during an alleged incident of sexual assault as a defence against criminal accusations of assault.

This portion of the law requires that the party(ies) responsible for determining fact in a given criminal case before the Calgary courts determines the "reasonableness" of the accused's belief. This leaves a great deal of room for bias and subjectivity, however this has been somewhat narrowed by case law (rulings made by judges in previous sexual assault cases and appeals). While it's impossible to speculate on the outcome in  any hypothetical case, there are many instances of alleged sexual assault in Calgary where the facts support a contention of reasonable belief and consent.

A Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Help With Your Calgary Sexual Assault Charge

If you have been charged with a sexual assault in or around the Greater Calgary Area yet believe that consent was given for any sexual contact that took place during the incident, you may have an effective defence against your charges. This issue is far more complex than it may sound, however, and the average Calgary citizen does not have the knowledge or experience necessary to determine whether this assertion could be part of an effective defence, or how best to present this defence to Crown prosecutors and Calgary judges.
Partnering with an experienced  criminal defence lawyer is in your best interest when you are facing sexual assault charges. Contact Susan Karpa today for the knowledgeable and confidential assistance you deserve.

 

< Return to Blog